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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 24 September, 2019
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Higgins to meet Chilean president on first full day of South America trip

After arriving in Chile yesterday morning, President Higgins kicks off his two weeks trip to South American with a day of public engagements in Santiago.

President Higgins arriving to Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport with Ambassador James Sinclair Manley (left) and Brigadier General Ronaldo Mercado , General Commander of the Air Garrison yesterday morning.
President Higgins arriving to Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport with Ambassador James Sinclair Manley (left) and Brigadier General Ronaldo Mercado , General Commander of the Air Garrison yesterday morning.
Image: Chris Bellew via Fennells

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins begins his first full day of engagements on the first leg of his two-week visit to South America later today.

In the first of three meetings with heads of State, Higgins will spend much of the day with the Chilean leader Sebastian Pinera but will also address university students and lay a wreath.

The President’s day starts 10.15am local time (2.15 Irish time) in the capital Santiago where he will lay a wreath at the grave of Bernardo O’Higgins, a Chilean independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule in the early 1800s and who was one of the country’s founding fathers.

With a name like that it is no surprise that O’Higgins is of Irish descent.

At 11am local time, President Higgins arrives at the Palacio de La Moneda or La Moneda as it is more commonly known where he will be welcomed by President Pinera with full military honours.

The pair will then hold a formal meeting.

At 3pm local time, the President will deliver an address at the University of Diego Portales in Santiago.

In the evening President Higgins will return to the president’s palace where he will be the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by President Pinera.

Tomorrow, President Higgins continues his Chilean trip with meetings with other Chilean political leaders and Chile’s Irish community.

My favourite speech: President Michael D Higgins >

¡Hola! President Higgins begins official visit to South America

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Hugh O'Connell

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